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Backup O-Line Gets Chance on Sunday

Backup O-Line Gets Chance on Sunday

Talk about it on the CPND Message Board.

The Washington Redskins will take the field in Cincinnati at 8:00 PM Eastern on Sunday night, but the real game won’t begin until 45 minutes or an hour later.

Oh, sure, it will be interesting to see if the Redskins’ “first-team” offense can put together a smooth drive or two. “First-team” is in quotation marks because some of those who will be taking the field as offensive starters on September 11 against the Vikings will play little if at all. Clinton Portis, for example, won’t get more than three or four carries if that many. How can you really judge the performance of the offense without its primary weapon?

The same can be said of judging how well the Washington defense does when Cincinnati’s Carson Palmer will be sitting out, waiting to test his damaged knee until the regular season draws closer. Rudi Johnson and Chad Johnson are likely to see about as much action as Portis does. As is the case with most NFL season ticket holders, the Bengal fans who shelled out regular-season prices for tickets to this glorified scrimmage will have grounds to sue for fraud.

That doesn’t mean that the event won’t have anything to hold our interest (especially at the price of free, as it’s on over-the-air national television). The most noteworthy moments will come sometime in the second quarter. By that time, all of the members of the first-string offensive line will be wearing baseball hats and the second team, as named by Joe Bugel earlier this week, will be protecting Todd Collins and trying to open holes for Kerry Carter. Tyson Walter and Chris Pino will be the tackles, Jasper Harvey and Ikechuku Ndukwe will line up at guard, and Mike Pucillo will be the center.

Calling this a rag tag group would be doing a disservice to rags and tags. They used to call the Redskins O-line the Dirtbags. This group is the Paper or Plastic Bags as each of them is one step away from having to bag groceries for a living.

Their collective resume reads like that of the proverbial Waive Wire from Hell. Only Pucillo (seventh round) and Walter (sixth) were drafted. Those two are the only ones who have ever taken in snap in a real NFL game.

All kidding aside, these individuals have something to prove. Pucillo wants to show the Browns that they were fools for letting him go (and considering what happened to center LeCharles Bentley very early in training camp maybe the wish they had held on to him). Walter couldn’t get on the field for one of the worst lines in the NFL in Houston and clearly he wants to show them what a mistake they made. Pino and Harvey played together at San Diego State last year and they want to show that a lot of teams made mistakes in passing them over in the draft. Ndukwe wants to make people have to learn to pronounce his name.

And, more importantly, a couple of them have to step up. All of the millions that Daniel Snyder spent and all of the countless hours and buckets of sweat that the players and coaches have invested in trying to win a Super Bowl this year could be wasted if there is an injury to one of the starting linemen and nobody is able to fill the void. The team has to find someone who could answer the 911 call and fill a void for a few plays, a few games or, perhaps, for a good chunk of the season.

That someone, perhaps a couple of someones, probably will have to come from this group. For Walter, Harvey, Pucillo, Ndukwe, and Pino, the first step towards taking that step forward is Sunday night.

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Need to Know: Five Redskins under pressure vs. the Eagles

Need to Know: Five Redskins under pressure vs. the Eagles

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, December 6, three days before the Washington Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles.


Today's schedule: Joe Barry news conference 12:40; Practice 1:05; Jay Gruden and Sean McVay news conferences and open locker room after practice approx. 3:00

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 11; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 16; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 24

Injuries of note vs. Cardinals:
G Long (concussion), S Blackmon (concussion), DE Baker (ankle), DE Jean Francois (knee/foot), G Lauvao (groin)
Limited: TE Reed (shoulder), G Scherff (ankle
Wednesday injury report

QB Kirk Cousins—It’s on his shoulders. Not just this game but the entire playoff run. He can’t have an off day, not even one like the Arizona game where he was off for just part of the game. Cousins doesn’t have to be perfect on every throw but for this team to win he has to be very good every quarter.

OT Trent Williams—Back from his four-game suspension, Williams can’t miss a beat in returning to his All-Pro form. Any mistake, much less any sacks allowed, will open him up to further criticism that he left the team in a bad spot. 

WR DeSean Jackson—The dynamic here has become more intriguing since media reports of mutual interest between Jackson and his former team have emerged. Jackson has done his thing the last two games, catching passes for long gains. But if he is going to be of value down the stretch (and of value to any other team next year) he is going to need to get his hands on some shorter and intermediate passes as well.

OLB Preston Smith—He was a regular on this list until he came up big against the Vikings. But he has since disappeared again and needs to come on strong for the team’s stretch run.

ILB Will Compton—He has been coming under fire lately for ineffective play, including missed tackles and being out of position on occasion. The Redskins need him to raise the level of his game if they are going to land in the postseason.

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Reed catches a pass. Staying away from contact. #Redskins

A video posted by Rich (@richtandler) on

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Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

As Jay Gruden stepped to the podium to read the injury report, he warned, “This will be a while.”

He was right, as he rattled off one the longest injury reports of the season.

Out were G Spencer Long (concussion), S Will Blackmon (concussion), DE Chris Baker (ankle), DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Anthony Lanier (lower leg), G Shawn Lauvao (groin), OT Ty Nsekhe (ankle), and S Donte Whitner (illness).

Of that group, all but Jean Francois, Lanier, and Nsekhe are starters. Between them and the limited players listed below it was difficult for the Redskin to conduct a normal practice.

“It was a challenge,” said Gruden of getting through it. “Practice was modified quite a bit today. We did more walkthrough today than we ever have on a Wednesday.”

“Sometimes you have to taper back just a hair to make it through practice, try to get the mental reps in with walkthrough and then hopefully the physical part will come maybe tomorrow. Friday we can open them up a bit.”

Limited in practice were TE Jordan Reed (shoulder), OLB Preston Smith (groin), ILB Will Compton (hip), G Brandon Scherff (ankle), and TE Derek Carrier (knee).


Reed returned to practice for the first time since suffering a Grade 3 sprain to the AC joint in his left shoulder in the game against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. He missed the game in Arizona. While his limited participation was a good sign for his return it’ is way too early in the week to say with any degree of certainty that he will be playing against the Eagles.